To systematically map the scholarly literature on predatory conferences and describe the present state of research and the prevalent attitudes about these conferences.
Realising that you have been tricked into paying for, or even worse writing a paper for, a predatory conference can be disheartening and demoralising. What makes the situation especially hard is that there is hardly any reputable literature on the subject and almost no guidance material. This is a situation that funding bodies, publishes and institutions should strive to address. This open access paper, and the research reports, look at the issues.
From 809 initial publications, 20 papers were included in the review, from 12 countries and covered a wide range of science disciplines, from nursing/medicine to energy/technology and computer science. More than half were empirical and published after 2017. In most papers, a definition of the term predatory conferences was put forward. Spam email invitations with flattering language were the most common characteristics, and the conferences were often hosted by unknown organisations that used copied pictures without permission. High fees, lack of peer review, and a multidisciplinary scope were signal features. All papers explicitly or implicitly suggested possible reasons for participating in predatory conferences. Some reasons were related to the overall context of academic work, the nature of predatory conferences (eg, researchers falling prey to misleading information about a conference or choosing a conference based on an attractive location) and the personal characteristics of researchers. Only one paper reported empirically identified reasons for participating in predatory conferences. The three countermeasures proposed most frequently to deal with predatory conferences were increasing education, emphasising responsibilities of universities and funders, and publishing lists of predatory publishers associated with conferences.
This review identified a scarcity of research concerning predatory conferences. Future empirical as well as fully analytical research should be encouraged by funders, journals and research institutions.
Predatory conferences: a systematic scoping reviewPublisher (Open Access): https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/12/11/e062425